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Old 18 March 2008, 20:29   #21
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Originally Posted by ian parkes View Post
I would much rather have kids or anyone likely to panick in a bouyancy aid type lifejacket , like the crewsaver ones for kids .
My own kids will have permanent bouyancy (foam) jackets until they are confident swimmers. I will need to be sure that despite the innevitable initial panic they will have the ability to pull the red toggle if the auto fails. And ideally would have the "puff" to blow it up when that fails. But for a 14 yr old swimmer I think a gas jacket is OK.

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Surely whatever the bouyancy rating of the lifejacket in question the outcome would have been the same .
just perhaps a zip up bouyancy aid type would have been easy and natural to remove and swim free as its just like an every day garment .
the report says they tested it afterwards with a 150N and it was straightforward to get out but very difficult with the 498N jacket.

In my experience with a 50N bouyancy aid on it wouldn't normally be necessary to remove it to get out from under any dinghy hull.

However, undoubtedly had she been spotted missing in the first few minutes she would have stood a much better chance.
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I have to admit I never feel happy wearing my auto inflate lifejacket. but i have spent a lifetime wearing bouyancy aids .
That was part of my reasoning for going down the float suit route.
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Old 19 March 2008, 03:44   #22
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Originally Posted by ian parkes View Post
I would much rather have kids or anyone likely to panick in a bouyancy aid type lifejacket , like the crewsaver ones for . kids
Agreed. To be strictly accurate I should have said "All my ADULT lifejackets are autos" because the kids wear foam lifejackets (and will until they are teenagers).

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Old 19 March 2008, 04:19   #23
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I've just read the MAIB report, and it's clear that the thread title (although provoking debate) is by no means an accurate summary of this incident. The type of lifejacket was just one of several failings:

• The lack of a risk assessment specific to the activity conducted
• The failure to implement control measures detailed on the generic risk assessment such as the provision of a safety boat and the fitting of propeller guards
• The lack of safety orders for training on water
• The use of lifejackets unsuitable for children and civilians
• The lack of communications with shore personnel
• The failure to keep a record of persons on the water
• The lack of provision for non-swimmers
• The lack of awareness of all of the coxswains with regard to the intended passage plan
• The number of persons on board the RRC2
• The condition of the RRCs and the equipment carried (engine configuration, the lack of nautical charts and other navigational equipment, the condition of flares and fire extinguishers and the lack of navigation lights on one of the craft).

From the description in the report it sounds like the capsize happened slowly, which may have added to the likelihood of someone getting trapped under the boat - this sort of capsize would be almost impossible with a RIB due to the bouyancy of the tubes so the likelihood of ever getting trapped under a RIB is rather less. Interesting (and very sad) to read that there was a very similar fatal incident in a dory in 1999.

There's plenty to be learned from this report though. It's worth everyone reading it and thinking about their personal risk assessments and emergency plans.

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Old 19 March 2008, 05:57   #24
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Originally Posted by John Kennett View Post
I've just read the MAIB report, and it's clear that the thread title (although provoking debate) is by no means an accurate summary of this incident.
agreed the lifejacket didn't cause the accident, it just, probably, impeded the cadets ability to rescue herself.
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The type of lifejacket was just one of several failings:
yes - and the MAIB always highlight everything they find wrong even if it is not directly relevant. In some ways that helps paint a picture of the environmnet/situation but it is also quite distracting.
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The lack of a risk assessment specific to the activity conducted
yes although not recorded someone did make some sort of risk assessment - the transport by sea was only to proceed subject to weather, the skippers discussed the weather and agreed to go, and the fact that everyone was wearing a LJ means there were, perhaps subconsciously, identified risks.
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The failure to implement control measures detailed on the generic risk assessment such as the provision of a safety boat and the fitting of propeller guards
I am not sure many people would have identified a separate safety boat as a requirement for transport across water, especially with 3 boats in the fleet. Prop gaurds would not have impacted on this specific incident.
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The lack of safety orders for training on water
I wonder if this transportation trip was viewed "as training" or even being particulalry high risk - its purpose was to move the personnel from one location to another. Had the accident been in an old army minibus/truck on a windy road would the same level of criticism be levelled?
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The use of lifejackets unsuitable for children and civilians
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The lack of communications with shore personnel
agreed. And it may well have been appropriate to file a passage plan with the CG although not mentioned by the MAIB. Time was wasted after the first Mayday call as wrong location was given.
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The failure to keep a record of persons on the water
absolutely. This was probably the cause of death. The lesson to all RibNet skippers should be - know how many people are on your boat and if the preverbial does hit the fan make sure they are carefully counted. But actually with 11 identically dressed people in the water I suspect it is easier to make a mistake than we think.
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The lack of provision for non-swimmers
but had no bearing on this incident.
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The lack of awareness of all of the coxswains with regard to the intended passage plan
or actually the complete lack of any real passage plan.
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The number of persons on board the RRC2
but the report also acknowledged that whilst there was one person over the official loading the boat was not overloaded (as smaller people/less kit carried).
Quote:
The condition of the RRCs and the equipment carried (engine configuration, the lack of nautical charts and other navigational equipment, the condition of flares and fire extinguishers and the lack of navigation lights on one of the craft).
nav lights and fire extinguishers had no bearing on this incident; nobody attempted to use a flare so that has no bearing either. The MAIB think that if a chart had been carried it would have resulted in a better distress call. I suspect the person who wrote that has never had to make a distress call in a genuine emergency with 11 people in the water.
Quote:
There's plenty to be learned from this report though. It's worth everyone reading it and thinking about their personal risk assessments and emergency plans.
Agreed - and how you account for people after an incident. If it does ever happen it would be worth counting them both as soon as possible and as soon as landed ashore.
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Old 19 March 2008, 06:26   #25
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My own kids will have permanent bouyancy (foam) jackets until they are confident swimmers. I will need to be sure that despite the innevitable initial panic they will have the ability to pull the red toggle if the auto fails. And ideally would have the "puff" to blow it up when that fails. But for a 14 yr old swimmer I think a gas jacket is OK.
I think thats good advise but wouldn't limit it to kids. When I had an open rib my buoyancy aid was always worn and then an LJ on top. During the colder trips, most of them up here, I wore a cag over the bouyancy aid and then the LJ on the outside. Being foam, it provides a good deal of insulation for warmth and it also works as body armour. It has another advantage in that the waist band of the LJ tightens below the bottom of the Buoyancy aid and helps prevent it riding up. I still use it when launching and recovering my boat single handed and then swap it for an LJ when inside the cabin.

I agree that crotch straps are a must and a hood wrapped inside the LJ also. Tied on, of course.

Given the circumstances, I think the girl did well to manage what she did.
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Old 19 March 2008, 06:48   #26
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Jeff - did you wear a 50N bouyancy aid with a 150N LJ on top. Did you ever test this combination? I wear a 50N+ flotation suit with 150N LJ on top and am concerned (that might be an exageration or I would have done something about it) whether the float suit will stop the LJ turning me over when I pass out (most likely from heat exhaustion with the suit!).

I have a LJ which the green "has not been fired" tab has come off (but I know it has not been fired) so perhaps I should just give it a try when the weather warms up a bit.

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Old 19 March 2008, 08:39   #27
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Jeff - did you wear a 50N bouyancy aid with a 150N LJ on top. Did you ever test this combination?
I haven't fired the LJ while wearing the buoyance aid. However, the buoyancy aid has the same amount of flotation material in the front as in the back so it has no tendency to float one way or another. You do float float legs down as you would normally without any assistance. (That bit might be my next little battle. ) My reasoning is that the LJ bladder will still be in the correct position and may even have a little more righting leverage because it's slightly further from the body. I guess the whole body will float slightly higher in the water, which can't be a bad thing to help keep head above water. Like Ian Parkes, it's a bit of carry over from being a canoeist.

My LJ is a 250n one. When I bought it I thought it a good idea; who knows? Anyway, I have a slightly different take on this and I intend never to be in the water. I had the same attitude in my kayaking; lots of folk I paddled with relied heavily on good rolling technique to get them out of difficulty....I relied on good paddling technique so as not to capsize in the first place! Unfortunately, it wasn't always good enough.
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Old 19 March 2008, 10:11   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polwart View Post
I wear a 50N+ flotation suit with 150N LJ on top and am concerned (that might be an exageration or I would have done something about it) whether the float suit will stop the LJ turning me over when I pass out (most likely from heat exhaustion with the suit!).
I think you're right to be concerned. The tendency is for the float suit to elevate your legs and lower body when immersed. A lifejacket is designed to work effectively with the legs lower in the water. As your legs rise, there is a tendency for your head to be pivoted backwards and your airway becomes more exposed and vulnerable to the waves.

This is why 275N jackets were developed for oilworkers wearing additional floatation. The same applies to drysuits, and those of us who wear drysuits should recognise that a 150N jacket will probably not support us in the attitude in the water which it should (the same is not true of wearing the jacket over a buoyancy aid.)

Simply; float suit or drysuit = give very serious consideration to wearing 275 N
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